Story: Popular music

Māori girl playing a Jew's harp, early 1900s

Māori girl playing a Jew's harp, early 1900s

Jew's harps were one of a host of European instruments taken up by Māori after whalers, sealers, sailors and traders brought them to New Zealand. One end of the Jew's harp is placed in the mouth and a reed attached to the frame is plucked to create a twanging sound. The sound is varied by moving the mouth and changing the air flow. 

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Tesla Studios Collection (PAColl-3046)
Reference: 1/2-008441-G
Photograph by Frank J. Denton

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Chris Bourke, 'Popular music - Origins of New Zealand popular music', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 October 2021)

Story by Chris Bourke, published 22 Oct 2014